Uber lands $1 bn from SoftBank, Toyota for self-driving unit

SAN FRANCISCO: Uber’s autonomous vehicle unit has raised $1 billion from a consortium of investors including SoftBank Group Corp, giving the company a much-needed funding boost for its pricey self-driving ambitions on the eve of its public stock offering.
Uber Technologies Inc said on Thursday that the investment valued its Advanced Technologies Group, which works to develop autonomous driving technology, at $7.25 billion. SoftBank will invest $333 million from its $100 billion Vision Fund, while Toyota Motor Corp and automotive company Denso Corp will combined invest $667 million.
Reuters had reported in March talks of the investment in ATG, which has locations in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.
The funding allows Uber to transfer some of the substantial cost of developing self-driving cars onto outside investors. That is likely to appease some investor concerns over Uber’s spending on the autonomous unit, which has topped $1 billion since the programme started in 2016.
The business unit brings in no meaningful revenue for Uber, which last year lost $3.03 billion. The company is not even offering free rides in the robot cars to passengers, like some of its rivals are, following a fatal crash last year in Arizona involving an Uber self-driving SUV.
Uber released its IPO filing this month and is preparing to launch is “roadshow,” when it will pitch its company prospective investors, the week of April 29, setting up for an early May debut on the New York Stock Exchange. — Reuters